Microengineered synthetic cellular microenvironment for stem cells
Stem cells possess the ability of self-renewal and differentiation into specific cell types. Therefore, stem cells have great potentials in fundamental biology studies and clinical applications. The most urgent desire for stem cell research is to generate appropriate artificial stem cell culture system, which can mimic the dynamic complexity and precise regulation of the in vivo biochemical and biomechanical signals, to regulate and direct stem cell behaviors. Precise control and regulation of the biochemical and biomechanical stimuli to stem cells have been successfully achieved using emerging micro/nanoengineering techniques. This review provides insights into how these micro/nanoengineering approaches, particularly microcontact printing and elastomeric micropost array, are applied to create dynamic and complex environment for stem cells culture. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2012, 4:414–427. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1175 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.